by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare’s Globe 21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT In rep to 27 June 2010.
1pm 16, 23, 30 May, 13, 20, 27 June.
2pm 5, 6, 19, 21, 25, 26, 28 May, 10, 11, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25 June.
6.30pm 16, 23, 30 May, 13, 20, 27 June.
7.30pm 4, 5, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 May, 2-5, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 June.
23.59pm 4 June.
Audio-described: 23 May 6.30pm.
BSL Signed: 13 June 6.30pm.
Runs 2hr 50min One interval.
TICKETS 020 7401 9919.
Review: Carole Woddis 29 April.
The sensational murders of Macbeth.
Lucy Bailey’s Macbeth gets the new Shakespeare Globe season off to a sensational start.Taking her cue from Dante and Gustave Doré, Bailey and designer Katrina Lindsay have draped the front of the Globe in a large grey tarpaulin through which heads, performers and audience protrude.
The idea, at once entrapping and surreal, offers a dynamic metaphor for the hell that is the battle for power for the Scottish crown and the psychological consequences that ensue within Macbeth and to an extent – though less graphically than Declan Donnellan’s recent Cheek by Jowl production – Lady Macbeth.
Dominating this immersive environment, augmented by the wonderfully haunting pipe laments of Orlando Gough, hangs a great semi-circular metal orb. Everything about this conceptual framework speaks of elemental, brute and masculine force: Duncan, Macbeth and the soldiers appear dressed head to foot in textured cloth of greyish, grunge greenish-black. Bodies are lathered in blood. The Thane of Cawdor is murdered before our eyes, his tongue ripped out and thrown to the audience: Frank Scantori’s fleshly Porter pisses noisily and then accidentally-on-purpose knocks his piss-pot into the spectators.
Extraordinarily visceral at times, you could be mistaken for thinking you had stumbled into an episode of Braveheart at its most gory, or that Bailey had gone out of her way to recreate 17th century Elizabethan theatre in all its violent reality.
What is certain is that the technique, though on occasion gratuitous – there were 15 fainting cases last night; come the summer, they’ll be going down like ninepins – offers the kind of thing young theatre audiences clearly appreciate. It’s not enough to just hear the lines – as usual, it is the text that suffers most here – Bailey’s Macbeth offers the thing itself. An immediate, immersive experience.
Inevitably, given this emphasis, subtleties go a-begging. But that’s the Globe way. Appropriately Elliot Cowan, playing the much-maligned tyrant king (like Richard III, to whom Shakespeare’s Macbeth often bears resemblance in his paranoia), offers an emotionally intense, muscle-rippling, eye-rolling, all-stops-out performance that seems more reminiscent of 19th century barn-stormers than 21st century movie brawlers. All the same, Russell Crowe, watch out.
Weird Sisters: Janet Fullerlove, Simone Kirby, Karen Anderson.
Duncan/Seyton: James Clyde.
Malcolm: James McArdle.
Donalbain/Murderer/Young Siward: Craig Vye.
Captain: Michael Camp.
Macduff: Keith Dunphy.
Lennox: Nick Court.
Ross: Julius D’Silva.
Angus/Doctor: Ian Pirie.
Cawdor: Ken Shorter.
Macbeth: Elliot Cowan.
Banquo: Christian Bradley.
Lady Macbeth: Laura Rogers.
Porter: Frank Scantori.
Old Soldier/Siward: Ken Shorter.
Murderer/Menteith: Michael Camp.
Lady Macduff: Simone Kirby.
Gentlewoman: Janet Fullerlove.
Fleance: Josh Swinney/James Beesley.
Macduff’s son: Austin Moulton/Charlie George.
Macduff’s daughter: Isabelle Davis/Mia Adams.
Soldiers, Thanes, Servants: Careth Bennetty-Ryan, Joshua Hemmings, Liam Thomas, Mark Vincent.
Director: Lucy Bailey.
Designer: Katrina Lindsay.
Composer: Orlando Gough.
Movement Director/Choreographer: Javier de Frutos.
Movement: Glynn MacDonald.
Voice: Bardy Thomas.
Fight director: Philip D’Orleans.
Text work: Giles Block.
Assistant director: Jeff James.
Assistant text work: Melina Theocharidou.